From hot tools to highlights, there’s plenty of damage you can do to your hair during daylight hours. But your bedtime routine could also be harming your hair. If you’re waking up to a tangled, frizzy mess, or notice more strands than usual on your pillow, you may be wrecking your hair while you rest and not even know it.
Here, the most common mistakes people make before they drift off—and how to fix them so you’ll wake up with healthy hair.
YOU SLEEP WITH YOUR HAIR IN A TIGHT PONYTAIL.
If you’re a fan of tight ponytails at bedtime you may be waking up in the morning with hair on your pillow. That’s because tight ponytail holders can cause traction on the hair and pull from the root, particularly as you toss and turn in your sleep, according to Mara Weinstein Velez, MD, a dermatologist.
Doing this night after night can take its toll. “If this is a long-standing or repetitive hair style preference you could develop a condition called traction alopecia, where the hair along the frontal hairline becomes shorter and thinner,” explains Velez. (Before you panic, know that this happens after years of wearing your hair in a tight ponytail or in braids.) If you want your hair out of your face while you snooze, Velez recommends a loose ponytail on top of your head, “Marge Simpson-style.” Or try styling your hair into a loose braid.
You go to bed with wet hair.
We get it: Sometimes you’re so bone tired at the end of a long day that you can’t be bothered to dry your hair after showering. But hitting the sheets with wet hair isn’t good for your strands, because wet hair is more fragile than dry hair. “Each strand of hair is made of cohesive chains held together by chemical bonds,” explains Velez. “Some of these bonds can be temporarily broken by water, as well as heat and humidity, making the hair more moldable and fragile.” The good news is that you don’t have to give yourself a full blow-out right before bed to protect your locks: “If you must wash your hair before bed, use a blow-dryer to at least dry the roots to prevent breakage closest to the scalp,” says Velez.
You’re sleeping on a cotton pillowcase.
If you have fine or fragile hair, ditch the rough cotton pillowcase, which can snag and tangle your locks and try out a silk or satin pillowcase instead. “Silk and satin pillows cause less static or friction on the hair, which means less trauma and less detangling in the morning,” says Velez. Bonus: They will also help your hair hold onto its natural oils, which is especially important for people with dry, curly hair, notes Velez.
You’re not taking advantage of overnight hair treatments.
If you have dry, brittle hair, using a hydrating hair mask overnight can add some much-needed moisture. If you have normal hair, “make sure most of the treatment collects on the ends of the hair shaft, not the root,” says Velez. If you have very dry hair, though, go ahead and saturate your whole head. Sleep with a shower cap on to let the product seep in and keep it from getting all over your pillow.
You’re brushing your hair before bed.
Forget the old wives’ tale about brushing your hair 100 times to make it shine. Brushing can actually put unnecessary stress on your strands. Instead, I recommend you use a wide tooth comb, which won’t pull the hair. (If you must use a brush, pick one that’s right for your hair.)
Author: Akwesi Osei
An avid reader and writer who has written articles for HypeNationGh, LoudsoundGh and akwesiosei.wordpress.com.
Currently the blogger and owner of The Health Bro